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Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance Paperback – January 21, 2005
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"Thanks to the clear thinking and biblically solid perspective of my friend, Bruce Ware, we are now blessed with this stimulating and edifying description of our God who is worthy of wonder and awe. Here is a theology that will launch your heart in worship-as all good theology should!"
—Joseph M. Stowell, President, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the remarkable accomplishment of one of the finest scholars in the land. . . . Bruce Ware has succeeded in doing what many scholars can never do. He has written a thorough theological treatise that any biblically literate layman can understand. Finally, we have a volume that reaches beyond the academic community and into the life of the local church."
—Paige Patterson, president, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
"Many automatically equate theology with complexity and even irrelevancy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dr. Ware has the rare gift of making the profound accessible; he understands why theology matters and that it is the basis for true doxology."
—Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author; Bible teacher; host, Revive Our Hearts
"With all of the material available on the doctrine of the Trinity, I am thrilled to finally have a resource that will help the person in the pew understand how to properly articulate the doctrine and also grasp why it matters."
—Randy Stinson, Senior Vice President for Academic Administration and Provost, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
"This book will help you behold God's wondrous beauty and understand how it can be reflected in the way you interact with others. It is both awe-inspiring and immensely practical. Ware does a masterful job of helping the ordinary person understand and apply this important doctrine."
—Mary A. Kassian, Professor of Women's Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild
About the Author
Bruce A. Ware (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written numerous journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, and has authored God's Lesser Glory, God's Greater Glory, and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Top customer reviews
Chapter one unfolds the importance of the doctrine. Ware draws the reader in by illustrating ten reasons to focus on the "wonder of the Trinity." Readers are given a treasure-trove of ammunition that not only demonstrates the rationale of this doctrine; it shows the practical ramifications for marriage, career, and relationships in the local church.
Chapter two surveys the long history of the doctrine. The author shows why the early Christians accepted the Trinitarian formulation. His explanation is rooted in both Scripture and the writings of the church fathers.
Chapters 3-5 takes an in-depth look at the respective roles of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Dr. Ware makes it clear throughout his treatment that "every essential attribute of God's nature is possessed by the Father, Son, and Spirit equally and fully." Each chapter concludes with practical and powerful points of application. There is no abstraction here. Dr. Ware is concerned with linking truth with the affections and God-centered response.
Chapter six develops a theme that was originally explored by Christian thinkers like Augustine and Jonathan Edwards, namely - the Trinity as society or as Dr. Ware puts it, "in relational community." Ten key principles are presented that need to be fully digested and applied in the real world.
Dr. Ware has done in invaluable service for the church in this book. He has unpacked the doctrine of the Trinity in a way that is clear and biblical. He has skillfully applied this essential doctrine in a way that can strengthen a Reformed spirituality among believers. And he has rightfully challenged the egalitarian movement with the biblical antidote that should define a new generation of Evangelicals.
Many tremendously important lessons to learn can be derived by understanding the difference in their roles and relationship, which not only serves as a divine revelation, but also a pattern and divine design for humanity to follow, having been created in His image. The beauty of the Trinity lies in the respect and affection in their treatment to one another, harmony in operation, and unity in purpose, as well as the complete absence of envy, friction, disagreement, power struggle and abuse of authority amongst Them. Here is a model of a perfect, most sublime authority-submission relationship displayed in the supremacy of the Father, subordination of the Son to the Father wherein the Son glories in the Father, the Father glories in the Son, the Spirit submitting to the Father and the Son. Moreover, the Spirit glories in the Son, yet when the Son was on earth, He was subject to the Spirit, and the Spirit is always eternally joyfully content to take up the background behind-the-scene roles assisting the Father and glorifying and pointing all attentions to the Son.
Dr. Ware also covers what each Person does, and its implications whereby one learns the true fatherhood and obedience, the gracious work of inspiration, illumination, sanctification and evangelism. In regard to Christian life, they teach the divine inspiration and thus, the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible; expose the importance of illumination in understanding of the Scriptures, show the right way to pray; by the Spirit, through the Son, and to the Father, direct how to worship properly, the Son being the center of all. In the mission field, they affirm the absolute necessity of the work of regeneration brought forth by the Spirit in a true conversion that results in faith and repentance. At home, these lessons are applicable to the relationship between men and women in marriage as husbands and wives, and between parents and children. It is also a divine design for the church and society in general; between congregation, ministers and elders, citizens and government; students and teachers; subordinates and superiors wherein God ordained authority-submission structure or taxis to reflect who He is and how He operates. In each of these relationship structures that Dr. Ware went through in details, he not only teaches that the doctrine of the Trinity is highly practical, but also refutes egalitarianism and a general distrust of authority. Yes, human authority is imperfect, whether it be husband, parent, minister, governor, and superior in a workplace, but Dr. Ware pointed out the preciousness of the lesson of submission from the Trinitarian taxis,
"It appears then, that we need to learn something about the nature of true freedom. Freedom is not what our culture tells us it is. Freedom is not my deciding, from the urges and longings of my sinful nature, to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, how I want to do it, with whom I want to do it. According to the Bible, that is bondage, not freedom. Rather, true freedom is living as Jesus lived, for He is the freest human being who ever lived. In fact, He is the only fully free human being who has ever lived, and one day we will be set free fully when we always and only do the will of God.
So what is freedom? Amazingly, Jesus' answer is this: Freedom is submitting, - submitting fully to the will of God, to the words of God, and to the work that God calls us to do" (p.75).
The reason why this book is a must-read is because we live in the days where human autonomy is God and the seemingly prevailing rule is that I am my own authority; you have your own rules and I have my own, so don't ever tell me what to do. Understanding, embracing and applying the doctrine of the Trinity is a great antidote to this toxic post-modern spirit.